End of Month View Aug 2011

There are times like today when I wish I had never started the End of Month meme but I know quite a few bloggers like doing it so I grit my teeth and carry on.  Why the regrets, well this monthly blog post is the most brutally honest post  I do since I take photos more of less in the same spots of the garden and I can see all the faults, gaps and mistakes.  The rest of the month I can be selective with my photos and show you nice views.  So to make me feel better I have started the post with a photo of the patio border which is my favourite part of the garden.  I am pleased with the combination of foliage textures and it looks good all year.  This is the feel I want to get across the garden in one way or another so quite a lot to do.

I have found this a particularly hard year for gardening.  I planted lots of new plants but due to the dry spring and summer and despite my frequent watering they haven’t really established as well as I would like.  The border above was called the gravel path border but plans are afoot to dig it all up and create a new pond here since it is one of the few flat bits of the garden.  I am still dithering about it but I suspect I will bite the bullet and do it over the autumn.

I am becoming happier with the slope.  I have struggled with this area for a couple of years ever since we cleared a vast laurel from it.  The trouble is tall plants in this border get bent by the wind and I don’t want to spend all my time staking things.  As I said in my last End of Month post this is becoming a Daisy border and now we have had some rain the ground is diggable and I have started moving daisy type plants from around the garden to be included in the border and removing plants that won’t work.  I dug up a huge sedum the other day which explains the bare soil. I am pleased with the Calamagrostis Overdam along the back of the border which I planted a year ago.  They are filling out and look magical when the fading sun lights them up.

The pond border hasn’t lived up to previous years.  None of my Dahlias have flowered this year.  I have no idea why, they were all new tubers as I lost my collection to hungry mice over the winter.  I usually have Dahlias such as Chat Noir in this border adding real glamour.  As well as failing Dahlias the plants at the back of the border haven’t performed well as they rely on the overflow from the pond behind and it has a leak.  So as I said in last month’s post this is going to become a bog border.  I just need to get on and fill in the pond ideally with the soil from the new pond.  However, that is on the waiting list until I have finished moving the daisies around.

The Woodland Border was planted this spring and I worry every time I look at it as it looks so bare.  However, I know the plants will bulk up and I have to be patient.  I am ordering lots of Dogs Tooth Violets to go  in here as well as dwarf Narcissus.  The Witch Hazel leaves have already turned and fallen, hopefully it will come through the winter and I will get to enjoy its spring blooms for the first time next spring.

The top of the wall border is very slowly morphing  into the Cottage Garden border.  I am playing a game of moving daisy plants from here to the slope and plants from there into this border.  I can’t quite see how I want the border yet but I have a planting list of: roses, delphs, lupins,  peonies, astrantia, aquilegas, foxgloves.

So that is the garden at the end of August.  I do hope that by  the September post I will have something more substantial to show you so it looks like something has changed rather than me just saying it will.

If you would like  to join in the End of Month meme you would be very welcome. Just leave a link to your post in the comments box.


26 Comments on “End of Month View Aug 2011

  1. What wonderful plans you have Helen – it all sounds exciting and it seems like you have really thought about what you want from each of your garden areas – from what you have described, it can only go from strength to strength.
    Sorry I won’t be joining in this month …

  2. The woodland border will bulk up, and it will look fab, and so will the rest. But I do know what you mean – I found this a difficult one to do too; there’s so much I’m unsatisfied with. I think your garden looks great, though – packed with potential. All mine is packed with is couch grass.

  3. I always feel the End of Month View is a bit like taking a good look in the mirror and noting the flaws and the not so bad bits – a necessity to improve on what I already have. I enjoy watching your garden evolve and admire your honesty. My EMOV is: http://wp.me/p1jkAI-Je

  4. While the garden is struggling in places keep focused on your plans. It has been a bad year here too, first drowning and now drought, and the borders look only ok. Love the Witch Hazel, I have one in a pot ready to plant too!

    • Hi GWGT – it is hard when you have to wait for something else to be moved or finish before you can get on with a plan. Whilst my blog is called the Patient Gardener, I’m not really a very patient person!

  5. Helen, thanks for hosting the End of month view again, we appreciate you doing it especially as you say it makes us all think hard about what is working and what is not. I think you’re being hard on yourself and maybe expecting too much from your smallish garden which leaves you dissatisfied. You always say you aren’t interested in design but in truth it is the design of your garden that is making you dissatisfied. Enjoy all the lovely plants you have so lovingly grown and when you visit other gardens think about what you like about them (in detail, not the overall effect and why? And more importantly what you don’t like and why – this helps enormously. I really learnt a lot from ‘Wildside’ because I disliked it so much! I think you garden looks much better than you describe so don’t be so hard on yourself. Here’s my link. http://myhesperidesgarden.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/end-of-month-review-august-2/

    • Christina – I agree, I find that when I visit other gardens I am more critical about what i like and dont like and I have found that I am slowly beginning to find a style that suits me. I think I have been overly influenced by gardening media rather than trusting my instincts but thankfully I have moved away from this now

    • thanks Alison – I suppose my fustration at not being able to achieve much this year due to the ground being hard and other factors is showing through

  6. Karen – I cant understand why you arent doing an End of Month post, anyone would think you have a garden opening this weekend. Good luck

    Kate – I have couch grass but on the allotment so I know how annoying it is.

    Ronnie/Alison – thanks for joining in again this month, I will pop over and see what your gardens are like:)

  7. It looks wonderful and I am jealous of your plans! Our back garden is small, and with three chickens free ranging round it for most of the time, any plants I do put in have to be seriously chicken proof. The only things I have found that so far they definately won’t eat are rosemary and lavender.

  8. I love your patio border Helen, the contrasting foliage colours and shapes work so well together. I also really like the way you are taming your slope and giving it a clear identity. It has been a terrible year for establishing new garden areas, but given how clear you vision is for the various areas now and given some more time I think by next September it will all look as great as your patio border does. I am a little late to the party, but my EOMV post is now up. Thanks for hosting this, despite the discomfort!

  9. Your patio area looks lovely, I’m sure the rest will catch up. If you’re like me . You probably put more energy into one favorite area till you’re happy with it, before then concentrating on to the next.

  10. Glad that you have gritted your teeth Helen and carried on with your EOMV postings. It is difficult to ensure all year round interest but I do think that your patio garden goes a long way to achieving that and am not surprised that it’s your favourite. Do you have any bulbs planted in there? As usual I think that you are being much too modest 🙂 My EOMV post should be up soon I hope.

  11. I’ve loved your EOMV – Thank you, I’ve not much to show but I’ve been and done one too!

    All year round interest is very tricky – you’ve acheived so much with the garden. This year has been a very tricky one for so many of us, weathers been very erratic, have heart, you’ve acheived so much!

    You’ve really helped me to get out there and look at my garden, for that I thank you very much!


  12. The patio border is particularly fab … what’s the purple foliage in the middle – it looks like a Heuchera but do they even grow that big?!? I’m just starting and have lots of shade in my garden, so I think Heuchera will almost certainly make an appearance somewhere (possibly several places!) – they are lovely. But maybe it’s something else!

    • Hi Di

      I think you are referring to the Actea simplex – it is a lovely plant, quite tall and sends up tall spikes with small white flowers in a spike. It goes dormant in the winter and doesnt reappear until quite late spring.

      Hope this helps

  13. Hi Helen,
    The patio border looks lush and full of texture and colour – no surprise it is a favourite.
    Thanks for continuing to host the end of month view despite ups and downs – it is very useful to track what does and doesn’t work in our gardens.
    I know all about waiting (not very patiently!) for borders to bulk up 🙂 I am very tempted to keep stuffing plants in to all the gaps we have, but suspect I will regret it next year when I’m fighting to dig out and move half of them again…
    Sad that the garden hasn’t entirely lived up to expectations this summer, but it has been rather an odd season indeed. I think your plans for change sound like a good way to get the most out of your terrain and look forward to seeing your progress. The cottage garden and daisy borders will be blowsy and beautiful next year. I have a lot of excess aquilegia ‘lime sorbet’ seedlings that I raised, I’ve given away some and planted more than I really need and still have some left over. Perhaps I should bring some along if we come to the autumn show at Malvern, if you’d like any and will be there?
    I posted only a brief end of month view as we were away. Everything had changed again a week later, of course! http://hillwards.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/end-of-month-view-august-2011/

    • Hi, thanks for joining in again. Thanks for the Aquilega offer its very kind but I have loads of seeds to sow so will decline. I am going to the show on the Sunday will be on the WFGA stand in the morning but no idea where that will be yet.

  14. Thanks – just Googled it and that is the one – I do like the foliage and the flower spikes are very dramatic aren’t they? Seems to be a partial-shade plant too (which my garden has lots of!), so I might need to add it to my wishlist… I’d have to make sure I have something for early Spring interest (maybe plant it behind my Hellebores which are fab in early spring).

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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